Lessons from the Outdoors

Immune Resilience Series #24: The Nature Solution: The Alliance for Natural Health’s new video reminds us that the solution to create immune resilience isn’t always a new technology and that Mother Nature has most of the answers – and lockdown is giving us an opportunity to find them.

Once again, it’s a pleasure to share with you the excellent work that is done by The Alliance for Natural Health International (ANHI).

Before Covid-19 entered our vocabulary, we were surfing on the crest of a wave in our understanding of human health and its intimate connection with the natural world. We had already strayed from the idea that our genome was a fixed blueprint, one in which our environment, both internally and externally, decides what tune our genome will play. It is our environment that controls how our genes are expressed, and it’s gene expression, ultimately, that determines our health.

Let’s get a grip – and remind ourselves that it’s time to adapt to this new virus and get on with life. Let’s move forward, informed by our greatest teacher: nature

Nature Solution: we’re wired to be outside

We evolved to live outdoors so let’s enjoy and properly appreciate all the benefits of our natural environment. We were also born to move and moving outdoors is critical to every aspect of our health.

Simon Worral (National Geographic) writes that science is demonstrating what we intuitively know about the nature solution: Nature makes us happy!

Our sensory system evolved in the natural world and when we’re in those spaces, our brains become relaxed because these are things that we were designed to look at, hear and to smell. Miyazaki is one of the researchers who are trying to quantify this kind of mystical experience by measuring people’s heart rates, blood pressure, and cortisol levels.

They have made some amazing discoveries. For instance, our immune cells, or “natural killer cells,” which fight cancer, increase in forests. As a result, Japan now has 48 therapy trails. The forest service is taking this seriously, as a public health benefit. They’re medicalizing the forest!

We evolved to live outdoors so let's enjoy & appreciate all the benefits of our natural environment. We were also born to #move & moving outdoors is critical to every aspect of our #health. Click To Tweet

ANHI’s video explains how visiting with Mother Nature equips us to build immune resilience…

  • Vitamin D – exposes our body to sunlight and increases our circulating levels of 25(OH)D that converts to the active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 which is critical to immune system function.
  • Taking prolonged rhythmic exercise outdoors (e.g. walking, cycling, gentle jogging), the body upregulates the production of endocannabinoids and these bind to cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) that enhances immune tolerance.
  • Being outdoors allows us to be exposed to microbial diversity with which we’ve had exposure through the majority of our evolution, which enhances our immune resilience. This mechanism is referred to as the ‘old friends mechanism’ and is increasingly considered by scientists a better reflection of what happens than the ‘hygiene hypothesis’.
  • Being outdoors allows us peace of mind. Scientists are applying themselves now to understanding how reduced work pressure for some during the lockdown has facilitated more time in nature benefiting especially those living in heavily crowded urban areas. Time in nature is known to benefit mental health.
  • Long-term exposure to unpolluted air reduces our susceptibility to Covid-19, the reverse, obviously, also being true. A number of studies have shown clear correlations between high air pollution levels and Covid disease. This includes studies in the USA and China.

Resilient health is holistic health…

Our health is in our hands … WE make the decision to create the lifestyle changes that bring energy, vitality and resilient health… so let’s take the first step, however small, and walk purposefully and consistently towards those goals.

This post is part of my Immune Resilience Series – with this series, I’m making a commitment to my subscribers to provide helpful, evidence-based information and insights into what we can do with nutrition and lifestyle medicine to build immune resilience – the capacity of our immune system to respond to external challenges (such as the Covid-19 pandemic) and return to a healthy state of wellbeing.



Our risk for contracting communicable diseases like the Covid-19 virus increases when our immune system is weak and a weakened immune system is largely the result of a less-than-optimal diet and an unsupportive lifestyle.

Even as we are experiencing this current crisis, we are also seeing underlying epidemics of chronic diseases of every kind – diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, degenerative, digestive and autoimmune disorders across the globe. These conditions too, are largely diet and lifestyle-driven and they are preventable.

We need to act now

We have robust science to show us that what we eat has never been more important for our health and, because all life is inextricably connected, for our planet. The Real Food Solution will help you to discover the power of real food as medicine for better health.. for you and for our planet.

Crises like Covid-19 are a test our humanity… let’s stop queuing up for loo rolls and start creating a strong, resilient foundation of immune health… together.

Stay safe, stay informed and get empowered, Izabella.

Order your copy today!

The Real Food Solution front cover

Izabella Natrins

I'm here to inspire and support women at midlife and beyond to re-ignite purpose and meaning to take back control of their health and create the radical, resilient heath they want and deserve. As a whole-health expert with over 30 years experience in the field, a qualified Health and Wellness Coach and Ballymaloe-trained nutritional chef, my real food nutrition and lifestyle medicine programmes support women fighting fatigue, struggling with overwhelm, weight gain, sleep, energy and niggling or multiple diagnosed health issues. As an advocate for real food nutrition, regenerative agriculture and whole-health, my book 'The Real Food Solution' is an evidence-based treasury wisdom for energy, vitality and better health for people and planet and a call to action to change the way we grown, source and cook our food. As the CEO at The UK Health Coaches Association, I'm proud to continue the task of leading the first professional association for Health and Wellness Coaches in the world and the gold standard for the UK and Ireland.

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2 Responses

  1. December 11, 2020

    […] we are wise, we will follow our instincts and prioritise our newly found relationship with nature every single […]

  2. May 10, 2021

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